There has been a mixed reaction from politicians to the art group Ztohoven’s replacement of the presidential flag over Prague Castle with a pair of giant red boxer shorts in protest at President Miloš Zeman. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he regarded Saturday’s move as a coarse practical joke and rejected the suggestion by the president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, that it had been fascistic. Defence Minister Martin Stropnický said the incident was not threatening and that it was far better than if shots had been fired, adding that a review of security at Prague Castle had already been underway. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka jokingly asked on Twitter who was missing a pair of red boxers. Petr Fiala of the opposition Civic Democrats said the protest had been tasteless and that state symbols must be respected. Another opposition figure, TOP 09’s Miroslav Kalousek, asked why Czechs were paying for security at Prague Castle if such incidents were possible; the artists could have been terrorists with a bomb, he said.
The radical art group Ztohoven has protested against the Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, by replacing his presidential flag on the roof of Prague Castle with a gigantic pair of red boxer shorts. The activists said that the standard of a man who was embarrassed by absolutely nothing was finally flying over his residence. In a statement issued on Saturday night with a video recording of their action Ztohoven listed 10 things Mr. Zeman should be ashamed of, including being drunk at the Czech crown jewels and relations with dubious dictators. Police have charged three people with theft and disorderly conduct in connection with the incident.
A dispute has broken out in the Czech Catholic Church over the recent property settlement at Prague castle between President Miloš Zeman and Cardinal Dominik Duka. A memorandum concerning the return of two properties to the Catholic Church was signed on Thursday with a final deal due to be sealed by the end of the year. Duka’s predecessor in the top post of the Czech church, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, has slammed the initial agreement as illegal and in breach of democratic principles. In particular, he criticised the conditions attached to the return of the properties which include their repair and use for public purposes within five years. Cardinal Vlk said that the restitution agreement made no provision for such conditions to be laid down.
Czech President Miloš Zeman and Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka on Thursday signed a memorandum on the transfer of two buildings at Prague Castle to the Catholic Church. The Church has received the Saint George’s Convent and the Mocker Houses on condition that it will renovate them within five years and drop its claims to other buildings at Prague Castle. The move has been criticised by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who said the memorandum was anti-constitutional and unlawful and violated democratic principles. Under the 2012 church restitution law, the country’s churches will receive 75 billion crowns in assets confiscated by the communist regime and get 59 billion crowns worth of compensation money for the rest.
Two buildings at Prague Castle are to be restituted to the Roman Catholic Church. The Mocker Houses and the Saint George’s Convent are being transferred under a memorandum signed last week between President Miloš Zeman and the head of the Czech Catholic Church, Dominik Duka, the former’s spokesman said on Tuesday. Under the deal, the church has committed to renovating the two buildings within five years and dropping its claims to other buildings at Prague Castle. Under a 2012 law, CZK 75 billion in assets seized under the communist regime are being handed back to churches. They are also receiving CZK 60 billion in lieu of properties not being returned.
Prague Castle remains to be the most visited site in the Czech Republic, according to figures put together by Czech Tourism agency. Prague castle attracted some 1.8 million tourists last year, while Prague Zoo, which was placed second, was visited by nearly 1.4 million people. Among the other top 10 most visited landmarks is Prague's Old Jewish quarter and the Petřín tower, as well as the newly opened museum of brewery in Pilsen.
The Hussite flag was hoisted at Prague Castle on Friday June, 5th to mark the 600th anniversary of the burning at stake of the Czech reformer priest Jan Hus. The event was attended by President Miloš Zeman and the patriarch of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church Tomáš Butta. The flag will remain in place until July 6th, a public holiday commemorating the martyrdom of the reformer priest. Numerous other events are taking place around the country including exhibitions, music events, debates and lectures.
With the start of the tourist season in April hundreds of castles and chateaus around the Czech Republic open their doors to visitors. In addition to their historical value these sites have become cultural hubs, providing a wonderful backdrop for the concerts, theatre performances, craft fairs and historical fencing shows that are regularly organized to attract visitors.
Two of President Miloš Zeman’s closest associates at his Prague Castle office are in line for ambassadorial posts, Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday. Mr. Zeman’s head of protocol, Jindřich Forejt, looks set to receive a long-mooted appointment as Czech ambassador to the Vatican, the newspaper said. However, the move is not expected to occur until late 2017, shortly before the president’s term ends. His foreign policy advisor, Hynek Kmoníček, is expected to become the country’s ambassador to Washington in around a year’s time. Hospodářské noviny said the planned departure of two key members of Mr. Zeman’s staff suggested he may not seek a second term.
Some of the country’s most popular castles and chateaux opened their doors to the public this weekend, marking the start of the tourist season. Among them are Karlšejn, Křivoklát and Konopište, which annually attract over half a million visitors. Prague Castle also opened its doors to visitors this weekend. The country’s other historical attractions are due to open the season on April 1st or the long Easter weekend with price cuts and special events for visitors.
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